This I believe about journalism and the future of media

(This is a response to a post by Tim McGuire, who encouraged journalists to write their own reflections on the future of news. Steve Buttry also wrote a great response last month.)

I believe that good journalism helps us better understand the world, illuminates the human condition, and inspires real change. It’s more than merely aggregating information; it’s not easy, and it’s not supposed to be. That’s why it matters.

I believe that clear communication is a virtue, and journalists are most valuable when they can bring clarity to chaos. Sometimes this means curating the best content produced by other people; sometimes it means writing good explainer posts; and sometimes it means refraining from adding to the noise with shallow, unhelpful content.

I believe a reader should have access to as much information about a topic as he or she wants. There’s no excuse for isolated online articles without links to sources and background information.

I believe that solution journalism is an underutilized way to get readers to engage with systemic social problems, which are notoriously difficult to report. Social entrepreneurs are a particularly good resource for these stories.

I believe undergraduate and graduate journalists need to collaborate more to discover how we’re going to tackle the challenges of the industry we’re inheriting. We need advice from older journalists, too, but our best resource is each other.

I believe the world doesn’t really need another media startup or online news platform. What we need most is a humble, thoughtful and quick-moving network of journalists who are willing to clear away the clutter in an attention-starved world.

I believe the world will always need good writers, good editors, good photographers, and good researchers. The future of the news industry is secure — though it won’t look the same. Personally, I’m excited to be entering at a time when anything is possible.

I believe that if we’re trying to “save” journalism for its own sake because of a stubborn refusal to change, we don’t really deserve to be journalists. Maybe if we stop defending our own importance and focus instead on finding the best ways to share truth, preserve democracy and seek justice through the stories we tell, we’ll find our way.

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